One of the many benefits of being a small school is the teacher to student ratio. Our small class sizes mean teachers know every student and adjust learning activities to ensure that every individual is catered for. Within the Australian Curriculum, enrichment activities can be provided to facilitate a greater depth of understanding whilst continuing to build a love of learning. Some examples of this year’s whole-class enrichment activities include:
Year 7 students have recreated replicas of the terracotta soldiers and horses, built to protect Emperor Shi Huangdi during the Qin Dynasty.
Year 4 students participated in an online webinar hosted by Questacon, Australia’s national science centre.
Our Digital Technologies students designed bridges, printed them using 3D printers and tested and appraised the engineering principles applied in their construction.
Agriculture students studied animal behaviour and yard design before planning, analysing and constructing a 3D scale model of effective livestock handling yards. Students are currently designing and building a new agriculture plot which will include garden beds that incorporate small crops such as vegetables and herbs, potted colour and also companion planting and harvesting yields.
Our Years 2 and 3 regularly apply their mathematical knowledge and learned skills in a range of hands on activities, games, role plays, and activities to reinforce concepts and maximise engagement.
Year 4 students engaged in a rich learning cross-curricula task. They used autumn colours, patterns and imagery to create a class mandala, communicating positive messages to their classmates. Aboriginal dot paintings were also incorporated to represent culture and wholeness.
Whilst differentiation within the classroom provides the best environment for all students to have their learning needs met, consideration also needs to be given to intellectually able students who benefit from enrichment programs that allow them to work together in groups to develop depth and breadth in topics of interest. Participating in enrichment groups not only boosts their academic achievement, it benefits their friendships and allows them to make meaningful connections with other students.
Girls Grammar offers a number of programs to support highly-capable students. Through these activities, girls are encouraged to challenge themselves, engage in independent learning, foster curiosity and creativity, and develop clear evaluative thinking.
Dr Fry, our Deputy Principal Studies, provides extension for high achieving Year 5 and 6 mathematics students. The girls are working with Dr Fry to hone their skills in estimation, speed and accuracy and prepare for the Maths Teams Challenge.
Senior Science Teacher Christie Dey regularly provides activities to build confidence in Science and foster deeper understanding of STEM concepts. This year, students have been able to participate in webinars hosted by Questacon and the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy. Next month girls will have the opportunity to join the Army Aviation STEM Motivation Program.
In conjunction with Old Girls, we are launching a STEM mentoring program for Years 9 and 10 students, providing girls who are interested in STEM related careers with access to a wealth of experience and expertise.
Our Primary Enrichment Club has just commenced to engage highly capable primary students from Years 2 to 6 in project-based learning. This allows students to build depth in a content of personal interest whilst also demonstrating their ability to work independently. The girls also develop research skills as well as building peer relationships, teamwork and group skills.
Highly academic subjects are offered in Years 11 and 12, including Specialist Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics. Enrichment subjects are also offered in English, Literature and Music (Performance).
In conjunction with The University of New South Wales (UNSW), Girls Grammar conducts the delivery of the academically rigorous ICAS testing each year. Registration to sit ICAS is available to self-nominated students and is aimed at extending our top academic achievers. ICAS is offered at Girls Grammar in:
o Digital Technologies – Years 3 to 10
o Science – Years 2 to 12
o Spelling – Years 2 to 7
o Writing – Years 3 to 12
o English – Years 2 to 12
o Mathematics – Years 2 to 12
A number of art competitions have been offered across the year including in Term 2 where students were encouraged to recreate a famous artwork by a master artist. Art Club offered after school provides further extension for students in Visual Art. A Years 5 to 9 Art Camp is currently scheduled for 4th and 5th September with further details to be communicated shortly.
Girls Grammar’s Young Playwrights' Club provides encouragement for girls work towards developing new, original plays. Girls are supported to pursue opportunities to collaborate with other talented young writers and staff facilitate sessions with professional theatre makers and online workshops.
Girls interested in voice and communication can study the AMEB Speech and Performance Curriculum. Girls Grammar has a rich history in this area. Once again in 2020 a Girls Grammar student received the highest result in the state.
Girls Grammar is committed to the engagement and growth of high-ability students. A key priority remains to facilitate opportunities and to continually develop capacity to support and encourage our girls to seek enrichment and development.
Vale Courtney Smith
I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Courtney Smith, from the Class of 2017, who was tragically killed in a road accident last weekend. Whilst at Girls Grammar, Courtney showed herself to be an enthusiastic and dedicated student. She was one of the School’s highest achievers, receiving top results in Chemistry, Physics, English and Mathematics B. She also studied English Extension and took every opportunity to pursue enrichment opportunities. Whilst in Year 11, Courtney won a STEM competition, allowing her to meet 2015 Nobel Prize winner, Japanese physicist Dr Kajita. When interviewed for a media article in 2016, Courtney said, “Women can achieve anything, do what they want to do, be where they want to be if we just put the effort in. The fact that I am a regional student and a woman and I am going to Brisbane is just evidence that you don't need to be in the city or a man to get into these fields."
The Girls Grammar staff, students and boarding community all speak very highly of Courtney and remember fondly her time at the School. She was a student who always ‘did her best’ and she was a wonderful role model for other students. The Girls Grammar family will miss her.
Mrs Deanne Johnston